Oregon vape shop owners concerned over potential ban

PORTLAND, Ore. (KATU) – Oregon Governor Kate Brown is considering several options to prevent deaths and illnesses linked to vaping, including a temporary ban on the sale of all vaping products in the state. That has some vape shop owners pushing back.

It takes a matter of minutes. “As long as it takes a make a latte honestly,” said vape shop owner Marcus Nettles. It’s the same concept: mix the ingredients then shake.

Marcus owns and operates Rose City Vapors. He’s been mixing and selling his own e-liquid for half a decade as an alternative to cigarettes.

“Burning and lighting and smoking a cigarette and igniting all those chemicals is much more cancerous to the body than a vapor, which there’s no combustion,” Marcus said.

He told KATU reporter Catherine Van most e-cigarette liquids are made of three main ingredients: vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, and a food grade-based flavor additive.

The Oregon Health Authority and the Center for Disease Control have not yet named a specific chemical or product that’s causing lung injuries, but Marcus and several e-cigarette manufacturers believe a black-market oil that’s been mixed with vitamin E acetate is to blame.

“When you vape it,” Marcus said, “it’s fine but if it’s not at the vaporized temperature, it becomes an oil again, and oil in your lungs is all bad.”

So far, the CDC has linked 12 deaths in the US to vaping. Two of those cases are in Oregon, both involving cannabis vape devices.

With recent scrutiny over the industry, Marcus said he’s already seen half of his sales drop. He’s worried a ban on e-cigarettes would push consumers to a black market online.

“Regulate that market, look into that and find out what the real culprit is, because that’s what’s hurting people,” Marcus said. “This just helps people quit smoking and by banning this, you’re going get people back to cigarettes.”

Marcus said if the six month-ban is imposed, he and other shops will likely go out of business.

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